This is a story about my relationship to Enspiral. My Enspiral. It was provoked by this article and a phone call after it.
To me Enspiral is a culture. A culture which inspires people to create and becomes imbued in those creations. Businesses, products, events, gatherings, organisations, and conversations imbued with a slice of Enspiral culture as it lives in the people behind them. Some of these initiatives directly target building/supporting that culture while others are more outward focused.
( For clarity, this article makes no reference to the financial project “my.enspiral”)
I had heard of Enspiral before. I’d even talked to some of my friends about it. But My Enspiral began when I met other people who identified as being part of Enspiral. It began because I started talking to them about what Enspiral meant for them, which is one of many activities which I would call “Enspiralling”. Talking with them was inspiring. They were interested in and conducting experiments involving non-hierarchal governance, sustainable business development, and showing up as your authentic self. It was my jam.
So I jammed with them for a bit. I even became an “Enspiral contributor”. Then there was a big party with lots of people who identified with this word. We all gathered in a place called Castle Point and did some Enspiralling for a few days and called it Summerfest. Then I left New Zealand.
Nine months later I returned to New Zealand to attend Enspiral Dev Academy (EDA). What about it was Enspiral? There is a technical answer to that question which is that it is an “Enspiral Venture”, but my answer would be the people. The people, and via the people, the culture.
Except at that time I was still discovering My Enspiral. I couldn’t have articulated that. I knew I was interested in Enspiral, wanted to be part of it, except, I couldn’t find the door. I’d found some windows, but they weren’t big enough for me to squeeze through. I watched a few others manage it, but that wasn’t My Enspiral.
My Enspiral gained momentum after I graduated from EDA. The night I graduated EDA was also the night that my second Enspiral Summerfest started. Over that weekend My Enspiral grew from the seed planted one year before into a little sprout. Over the following year, it began to take shape.
What has that looked like tangibly? Working on a daily basis beside and around others who identify with this culture. This means we check-in before meetings. We value and care for the whole person we are working with. We value the impact of work on the world. We prioritize building an inclusive world. We prioritize building a sustainable world. We prioritize dismantling the patriarchy and healing the wounds it has inflicted.
Beyond this daily work culture, there are the calls and conversations. About the world we believe is possible and want to live in. About what we might build to support that world. About how to support businesses, initiatives, and people that are working towards a world we believe in. The people I am Enspiralling with live around the world and work in a range of fields. And yet we are talking, sharing, learning, and growing together in large part because of our shared identity. Our identity as part of Enspiral.
At the most recent EDA cohort’s graduation I was talking to a Punk. That’s his cultural identity. He was talking to me about what it means to him, how he relates to other Punks, and how he sees that culture growing. It is based in music but he was quick to point out it is much more than that. I had the same experience in my teenage years participating in hiphop culture. It is not just the music, it has a whole ethos, of which the music is just a particular expression. The definition of a culture comes from the commonalities that emerge from the plurality of groups that identify with it. Enspiral is a culture in this vein.
Culture is about identity but it is also about expression. For a punk that might be their hair or their clothes, but its often also an attitude. Our culture is our identity but it is also how we act. Recently I was reading a book about a group of agricultural trusts in the Waikato region of New Zealand. They are all Christian based, and choose their charitable giving based on values derived from this culture. When they work together, they start with the values they find in their faith. In their culture. Their work together is a meeting of each persons individual experience and sense of meaning based on their interpretation of this culture. This culture flows into action in the world. This is where I see My Enspiral most fully active, as culture flowing into action in the world.
To bring this full circle, going back to the article and the call. To me the crux of it is that Enspiral has long tried to behave as an organisation / business / foundation. Maybe for some people this is their Enspiral. But My Enspiral? My Enspiral is about relationships. Its about shared values, shared culture, and creating meaning together.
My Enspiral is culture and people. It is the people I share the identity with, have conversations with about it, and do my Enspiralling with.